24 May 2024 07:52 PM


Humayun Gauhar | 8 MARCH, 2015

You Just Killed Beethoven!

Founding father of Pakistan: Mohammad Ali Jinnah

After reading the 24 essential qualities of good leadership listed in my last article ‘Leadership’, someone commented that I had forgotten ‘Clarity of Thought’. Actually I hadn’t felt the need because if the qualities mentioned are present – even most of them – clarity of thought follows naturally. Such qualities cannot be present without a high degree of knowledge and intelligence and an honest belief in universal norms of legality and morality. These obtain in people who are genuinely conscious of their own mortality and divine accountability.

Our leaders are not burdened by morality or principles, a strength for a time in this secular dog-eat-dog world but the eventual death knell of primacy. If such leaders are not trashed in life they are trashed by history. What happens to them in the next life God alone knows.

When leaders believe in their ideology and the purpose and objectives of their state’s existence, clarity flows along with short-, medium- and long-strategies, tactics and policies. A good short-term strategy that gives people quick relief will create confidence in the government’s medium-term strategy by making people more willing to participate with patience in nation building, make sacrifices for abiding long-term success and prosperity. So let’s make it 25 criteria.

Then there’s another: the courage to leave when one’s job is done so that the tradition of peaceful succession can be initiated or upheld. None of our leaders has ever had this quality: the will or foresight to leave when their time is up. Thus succession has always been anarchic and painful. Even in the Third World with nascent badly cloned western systems, Lee Kwan Yew did it as did Nelson Mandela. Every one of our leaders left office either through death or assassination, presidents removing them when they had the power or by military coups. Now our criteria go up to 26.

There’s yet another: building political parties into democratic institutions with a dynamic life and personality of their own, not revolving around the personality of their leaders or founders and their families. All our political parties, bar the few new ones, are dynasty building institutions, which is primitive in the extreme made modern by camouflaging and sugarcoating their reality with contemporary ‘democratic’ labels and hollow practices, their members no more than stooges of their leaders, their political existence dependent on the pleasure of their party leaders. Our criteria now are 27.

And another: leaders should be frugal, not profligate, no matter how wealthy their states. Resources should never be wasted, least of all in pomp and panoply. It betrays a sense of inferiority and chips on the shoulder. So now we have 28 criteria of good leadership.

Three more qualities, though not necessarily the last. The 29th is that leaders must be able to visualize where they see their country five and ten years on and convey that vision to their people, create consensus on what to do to get there and not be diverted while adjusting whenever necessary to change.

The 30th quality is that they must genuinely agree that what is good for agriculture and business is good for their country so they must do everything to enable and enhance them within good rules and regulations, that feudal modes of agricultural production and distribution and cronyism and corruption are the worst diseases that afflict them.

Leaders must never ever treat politics like a business so they should not ever be businessmen at the same time that they are rulers. If they have businesses they should put them in a blind trust when they come to power. That makes it 31 qualities.

Leaders must have the ability to take the correct decisions in time, not kick the can down the road or brush them under carpets. “Quick decisions” is impetuosity: decisions must be considered, timely and correct. See how Nawaz Sharif delayed the decision to launch an operation against terrorism in North Waziristan by insisting on holding a dialogue with the devil. He wasted time and allowed many terrorists to melt away. The army finally took the decision for him while maintaining the illusion that Nawaz Sharif ordered the operation. That takes us to 32 essential qualities of good leadership.

Let’s pause here and ask: are the necessary qualities present in our leaders in power today, on offer or in the offing or those waiting in the wings? Unbelievably, nearly 68 years on and utter confusion about the ideology and the purpose of Pakistan’s creation still persists due to lack of moral courage, respect for the truth and, yes, ignorance. Our leadership suffers from incremental poor intent and lack of spine to stand up to forces internal (obscurants and feudal) and external (the hegemon) that would, and have, mutated Pakistan’s ideology and purpose. Not that our leaders lack cleverness (not to be confused with intelligence), considering that they are so adept at meeting their own purpose of self-aggrandizement and self-perpetuation. It is due to lack of knowledge, intelligence and patriotism for if you are an economic terrorist how can you be patriotic when corruption of all kinds eats at the vitals of the country.

After Jinnah, none has ever had the intellectual capacity or courage to establish that the purpose of Pakistan’s creation was to provide a safe haven to the Muslims of India, including to those left behind by acquiring strength that comes from economic success by crafting a truly Islamic Welfare State as the nation’s father clearly stated in his seminal speech to the new Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947 and was Pakistan’s social contract and should have been made the basis of the new constitution. Instead, it was censored and shelved and contradictorily replaced by an ‘Objectives Resolution’ nearly two years of achieving the objective. The power that Jinnah ordered to be given to the people was given to clerics and feudal lords instead, forgetting that Pakistan was not made to be a theocratic state to be run by clergymen and primitive feudal-tribal-industrial lords with a medieval feudal mentality. This deliberate misguidance is the root cause of all the diversions that Pakistan has been forced to take from its correct path, now to the point that it is going in the opposite direction towards to a horrible destination.

Our leaders are economic terrorists because genetically endemic corruption is their real objective. Their objective is not taking their state towards progress and prosperity that is equitably shared by all, but taking only themselves, their clans and cronies to prosperity, starkly signifying the total lack of principles and morality. They are financially corrupt, morally corrupt and intellectually corrupt. I would be so bold as to say that even a correct understanding of Islam and Divine Faith are conspicuous by their absence camouflaged by religiously by following clerical rituals. They concentrate only on ‘Haqooq Allah’ or Man’s duties to the Creator but ignore ‘Haqooq ul Ibad’ that are every persons, especially, immutable duties towards the Creator’s Creations, of which the human being is the Jewel. Together, rulers and politicians have plundered Pakistan with a single-mindedness that defies description, making people increasingly poor, deprived and wretched.

Want to write an international bestseller too? Then write about the rags to riches stories of the Bhutto-Zardari Combine and Nawaz Sharif Inc. The Zardari’ss are migrants from Balochistan to Sindh and one of their sons, Asif, married into power and proceeded to make oodles of money illegally. As to the Sharifs, they first migrated from Kashmir to Indian Punjab and thence to Pakistani Punjab at Partition. They prospered in this Land of the Corrupt beyond their wildest imaginations, from hole in the ground ironsmiths to a foundry to such increment in wealth that makes the mind boggle and cries out for a Nobel Prize in corrupt political entrepreneurship.

Our leaders are shameless liars, dealing in false promises during elections and in falsehoods in office, misleading people with crass fabrications about their “brilliant performance”. Make history they certainly do, but of the wrong and most damaging kind.

We saw Political Terrorism and corruption last Friday during the Senate elections. It reinforced what we already knew, that our system is based on rigging and corruption to keep a small elite in power for pelf. It was another exhibition of systemic failure, an open bazaar of loyalties, honesty and conscience. How can you expect any better from the followers of leaders who are products of military dictators who break free of their creators when they find the chance to become political dictators themselves? These people are no less than cannibals eating the flesh of their people by stealing elections and plundering national wealth. What right do such people have to call themselves leaders when they cannot even feed their people, busy wheeling-dealing while children are dying of hunger and disease in the hundreds as they are in Thar and all over Pakistan? More than half the children of Balochistan are undernourished; Pakistan has the most out of school children in the world. It’s painful to go on.

As to command, Nawaz Sharif has lost much of it to the army through his fault alone, except the economy for the time being. But so dire is our economic situation deteriorating so fast that an economic emergency beckons. How will the army do its prime duty and fight the war against terrorism when it also has to run the economy, apart from running foreign affairs and internal and external security?

Pakistan’s situation has become so brazenly bad that that its system and the state cannot coexist. One or other has to go. The choice is obvious. Pakistan is going in one of two directions: another military intervention or disintegration – or the people going on the rampage. Fears are that this summer farmers getting more deprived will begin agitating openly. The people agitating and causing change is best. Earlier military governments found no solutions. Another coup would only delay the coup de grace unless the generals are genuinely mentally prepared to undertake major constitutional, political, legal, economic and educational structural reforms ruthlessly.

Let’s end with a smile. For all our list of the qualities of good leadership, it’s not easy deciding who would make a good leader or not. Two questions that you may have already read are telling.

Question 1: If you knew a woman who was pregnant, already had eight children of whom three were deaf, two blind, one mentally retarded and she had syphilis, would you recommend that she have an abortion?

Question 2: It is time to elect a new leader and only your vote counts. Here are the facts about three candidates.

Candidate A: Associates with crooked politicians and consults with astrologers. He’s had two mistresses, chain-smokes and drinks 8 to 10 Martinis a day.

Candidate B: He was kicked out of office twice, sleeps till noon, used opium in college and drinks a quart of whiskey every evening.

Candidate C: He is a decorated war hero, a vegetarian, doesn’t smoke, drinks an occasional beer and has never committed adultery.

Which of these candidates would be your choice?

Candidate A is Franklin Roosevelt, Candidate B is Winston Churchill and Candidate C is Adolf Hitler.

And, by the way, on your answer to the abortion question: if you said ‘Yes’ you just killed Beethoven.

Those who are hankering after a ‘technocratic government’, whatever the hell that means, should remember that amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titanic. The amateurs were driven by a missionary zeal; the professionals were doing a job for pay and fame. The first weren’t bothered about their CVs; the second were enhancing their CVs. Technocrats my foot. What we need are a few good men and women, educated and intelligent and dedicated only to the betterment of Pakistan and not their own aggrandizement. Surely we can find them amongst 200 million people here and abroad.